Ice Cream Sandwich to stop carriers bullying smartphone users

During the announcement of Ice Cream Sandwich today, Google breezed over a massive new feature they're bringing to the platform. Potentially one of the most groundbreaking ones, too.

The OS has a new built in tracker that allows you to keep track of your data usage over a month, and predicts how much you will use. Additionally, it predicts your future usage, and lets you drill down and see which applications used data when. This changes everything for people who couldn't afford to use data at all before.

Carriers have been known for slapping customers with massive bills for data overages, and with smartphones it's hard to know how much data you've actually used. With this new feature, that stops now. You can drill down into what applications used your data when, and tell the phone to stop letting those applications use data.

You can set your mobile data limit on the OS itself, and discover which applications are using all your data. This is probably one of the most innovative features the platform brings to light.

The users can now fight back against big bills, and protect themselves (without having to root their phone!). 

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Something i've been using for around 6 months now... Tie it together with APNDroid to turn off data access at a set level and you're onto a winner. How can people not have heard of these apps?

A better approach would be if they stopped apps from opening up without permission, you know, like iOS. I'm an Android owner and apps fire up on unknown triggers and events, and end up consuming the data limit of my plan.

"This changes everything" - jeeze this article sounds like it was written by Mr Jobs!

Maybe this is a bigger deal in the US or something? Over here in the UK, if you have a data package of some sort, even if you go over you don't get charged by the MB or anything crazy like that. Maybe 5 years ago but not now.

Not moaning about the feature though - its alright. It's a good idea, I like it. But is there really any need to big it up like its going to blow the competition out of the water?

zoonyx said,
"This changes everything" - jeeze this article sounds like it was written by Mr Jobs!

Maybe this is a bigger deal in the US or something? Over here in the UK, if you have a data package of some sort, even if you go over you don't get charged by the MB or anything crazy like that. Maybe 5 years ago but not now.

Not moaning about the feature though - its alright. It's a good idea, I like it. But is there really any need to big it up like its going to blow the competition out of the water?

In the US, using Verizon Wireless as an example, after you hit your cap you pay $10 per GB over your cap for their 2GB and above plans. If you have their 75MB plan you pay $10 per 75MB you go over, and pay per use is $1.99 per MB.

Wait <checks VW website>... there's a 75MB smartphone data service package?? What ridiculousness is this? With dynamic web content widespread the way it is nowadays, I find that INSANELY in bad taste to even offer such an overpriced, meager option. People with this service can literally exceed bandwidth quota just by doing search engine and website browsing a few days every week out of the month.

kizuran said,
Wait <checks VW website>... there's a 75MB smartphone data service package?? What ridiculousness is this?

Telstra, for whatever reason, have a 30MB one. $5 more gets you 1GB.

http://telstra.com.au/mobile/browsing_packs.html

That said, whenever you hit 50, 100 and 150 percent, Telstra are kind enough to send you a text message telling you that either a) you will have a very big bill or b) you should upgrade your data pack to reduce the amount of said bill.

I really hope with see this rolled out across existing phones like the HTC Sensation. However, I'm on T-Mobile in the UK and they still haven't updated to 2.3.4 - I'm still on 2.3.3. Google needs to be tough on operators and ensure that updates are pushed out immediately, across all providers. Microsoft managed it, so it can be done.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I really hope with see this rolled out across existing phones like the HTC Sensation. However, I'm on T-Mobile in the UK and they still haven't updated to 2.3.4 - I'm still on 2.3.3. Google needs to be tough on operators and ensure that updates are pushed out immediately, across all providers. Microsoft managed it, so it can be done.

Microsoft is doing a better job at it. They are still rolling out Mango to devices and its been released for a few weeks now.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I really hope with see this rolled out across existing phones like the HTC Sensation. However, I'm on T-Mobile in the UK and they still haven't updated to 2.3.4 - I'm still on 2.3.3. Google needs to be tough on operators and ensure that updates are pushed out immediately, across all providers. Microsoft managed it, so it can be done.

Microsoft can do that because they aren't allowing manufacturers and wireless carriers to change the core OS. They're only allowed to add apps, which are a lot easier to update for newer versions of the OS.

Google is stuck with the fact that because their OS is "open" they have absolutely no control over how quickly phones get updated. They can politely nudge OEMs along but that's about it. All of the customizations that they do (most of which I'd argue are useless) just sucks up development time and resources away from getting updates out in a reasonable time frame. There is no way in hell you can get a coordinated release of an OS update on Android when you've got tons of skins and custom apps to consider.

If I were Google, I'd state that any modding of the core OS means no access to the Android Market. If you want to pull a Kindle Fire, then fine, but don't punish the user with slow updates for the sake of "product differentiation."

theyarecomingforyou said,
I really hope with see this rolled out across existing phones like the HTC Sensation. However, I'm on T-Mobile in the UK and they still haven't updated to 2.3.4 - I'm still on 2.3.3. Google needs to be tough on operators and ensure that updates are pushed out immediately, across all providers. Microsoft managed it, so it can be done.

Can't you just de-brand (not root or unlock) the the phone somehow?

smooth_criminal1990 said,

Can't you just de-brand (not root or unlock) the the phone somehow?

It''s my understanding that you can't de-brand a phone without rooting it.

I hope the good people over at XDA will be working on this for phones that won't be updated. The only way I got Gingerbread was from CM7

Jebadiah said,
Predicts future usage based on what?

Based on current and past usages, duh. Guess this is not from Apple so it's not so "innovative" and people will try to ask dumb questions instead of saying "wow" and "magical".